For New York-based DJ Mia Moretti, a trip to Miami during Art Basel is a week of working hard and playing hard. Not unlike the nightlife darling, the annual event “has grown and become so multidisciplinary,” she says. Beyond being the red-lipped, impeccably-dressed it girl behind the turntables, Moretti is a writer, avid traveler, and self-described community builder—which makes Miami Art Week primetime for seeking inspiration. “There are opportunities to see musicians in every environment imaginable,” she says. “Giving them freedom to create a unique performance that lives—maybe just for one evening—is always my highlight of Art Basel.”
We caught up with Moretti during Surface’s The Party Vol. 2, where she documented the evening with a Leica CL2. Here, scenes from the DJ booth.
How did you become a DJ?
I started DJing while I was living in Los Angeles. The DJ culture that I watched develop was at the intersection of native LA talent, who had popularized mash-up culture and mastered the art of turntablism, and an influx of electronic musicians—predominantly from Paris—who had found a hub in Los Angeles to bring their music to the world. Watching as the two cultures came together was really the essence of what DJing is to me: a means to share and grow culture in a positive, open way.
How does music fit into your everyday life?
Music is an expression of life. The joy I get from DJing is really just a joy I get from life, and that extends beyond music for me. For me, DJing, traveling, cooking, and fashion are conduits for getting into culture and absorbing or dispersing that culture with others. That’s something I hope to always be doing.
You travel quite a bit. How do you share your perspective?
I’ve started documenting my travel with my best friend and very talented director, Liza Voloshin. The show we created from these travels is called Pillows and Plates. Pillows and Plates captures not only the places I visit, but the unique experiences I have in those places, whether it’s my hunt for a vegan Po-boy in New Orleans, a traditional Russian bath 200 miles outside of Moscow, or a market day in Provence.
How do you stay centered during crazy gigs, like Miami Art Week?
I have a bit of a morning ritual that I stick to for the week: wake up, walk to the boardwalk, buy a coconut from the coconut man, take a swim in the ocean, listen to a podcast on the beach, get a cortado and croquette, walk back home and start the day. As you know, there are fairs, panels, lunches, conversations, performances, openings, dinners, and parties from the tip of South Beach to the top of Bal Harbor, but from 8-10 AM the city belongs to nobody and that little piece of morning solace reminds me how much I love Miami and the local culture. I like to take that into my day.
What’s next for you?
Over the last ten years I have played in a DJ-violin duo with violinist, Margot. This last year we evolved that duo into a larger musical community. The project, Welcome To Club Soda, was launched in Miami during Art Basel in conjunction with the release of our single, “Club Soda.” We celebrating with an evening on the beach with horn players, live string accompaniment, and a rotation of guest DJs. We describe it as a sort of musical traveling circus. It will take on new sounds and forms at each show, adding instrumental elements and musical guests, be it friends and fellow musicians or local players we meet along the way.
Surface Studios is the brand marketing unit of Surface Media.